How important is this “BIM-thing”? There is a lot of talk about the “digital transition” of the construction industry, and the adoption of BIM (Building Information Modelling), but how serious is this? Is it a “nice-to-have”, “optional extra”, for construction projects, or is it something more crucial, or vital than that? Who should be concerned about this? And why?
ArcDox have been providing BIM consultancy, production, training and support services, for over 10 years in Ireland, and have extensive experience in implementing BIM on projects.
“We have proved, over thousands of years, that we can construct buildings and infrastructure without using BIM or digital tools”, says Ralph Montague, “That’s not the issue – the issue is the cost of not using BIM and digital tools. Traditional work processes are slow, costly, cumbersome, problematic and even dangerous. Over 30% of the cost of construction is waste. Over 70% of projects either end up over budget, or over time, or both. Productivity in construction has hardly increased at all, over the past 40 years. People are literally dying on construction sites. And there is a huge environmental impact from construction, contributing over 40% of carbon emissions. So yes, we can build without using BIM, or digital tools, but there is a huge cost to not improving the way we work.”
BIM is about providing “Better Information”, using the best available digital technologies and processes, so that people can make better decisions, more quickly, and more confidently. This is digital information that many people can search, query, understand, use and reuse. BIM is about cutting down rework, abortive work, unnecessary duplication of work. Cutting down waste. Creating safer work environments. Doing things quicker, cheaper, and better. Improving productivity and output. Helping to save the planet. In that context, BIM is more than just “nice-to-have”, or an “optional extra” , it is incredibly important.
Who should be concerned about this? Everyone who interacts with the built environment (buildings and infrastructure). And that is almost everyone. But most importantly, those who are investing capital in buildings and infrastructure. They should be concerned about getting better quality buildings and infrastructure, for less cost, and with less impact on the environment. And “better information” at the end of the project, to be able to use for the full lifecycle of their buildings. And all the professionals in the construction industry, who serve those investing in the built environment, should also be concerned. You could say that they have a professional responsibility to be concerned and use best available techniques and practices. We are living in the digital age, and BIM is available and mature, so why would you perpetuate out-dated practices that are costly and dangerous?
Co-Ordinator of the Construction IT Alliance (CITA) BIM group